The National Data Service
The launch of Materials Data Facility in support of Materials Genome Initiative
The National Data Service Consortium to launch a materials data facility for the advancement of materials science research through open data access and sharing. Read more
The National Data Service is an emerging vision of how scientists and researchers across all disciplines can find, reuse, and publish data. It is an international federation of data providers, data aggregators, community-specific federations, publishers, and cyberinfrastructure providers. It builds on the data archiving and sharing efforts under way within specific communities and links them together with a common set of tools.
It is widely believed that ubiquitous digital information will transform the very nature of research and education. The reasons for this excitement are clear: In essentially every field of science, simulations, experiments, instruments, observations, sensors, and/or surveys are generating exponentially growing data volumes. Information from different sources and fields can be combined to permit new modes of discovery. Data, including critical metadata and associated software models, can capture the precise scientific content of the processes that generated them, permitting analysis, reuse, and reproducibility. By digitizing communication among scientists and citizens, discoverable and shareable data can enable collaboration and support repurposing for new discoveries and cross-disciplinary research enabled by data sharing across communities. Open, shareable data also promise to transform education, society, and economic development.
However, while some communities are making progress in developing discipline-specific data services, the U.S. and international scientific communities lack a unified framework and supporting services for storing, sharing, and publishing data; for locating data; or for verifying data. More specifically, we are lacking standard means of accessing data, software, tools, metadata, and other project materials that can span across disciplines. These capability gaps make it difficult to build on prior research or to reproduce the results of a scientific publication. Hence, the promise of the data revolution—for rapid discovery, cross-disciplinary research, and increased reproducibility—remains largely unfulfilled. To break this logjam, the nation urgently needs an open framework that supports an integrated set of national-scale services to individually and collectively enable the efficient, convenient, and secure storage, sharing, publication, discovery, verification, and attribution of data by individuals, groups, and large collaborations. This framework and services will constitute a National Data Service (NDS). If these services are embedded within an extensible NDS architecture allowing numerous tools and community-specific services to enhance NDS over time, then we can realize a research environment where access to and citation of data is as useful and necessary as it is for published literature.
A transcript is available for this video.
To be successful, a National Data Service will need to build on the federations, the cyberinfrastructure, the institutional and community archiving, and the best practices already taking hold in the varied research communities today. To this end, a growing group of universities, academic federations, federally funded projects, and publishers are collaborating to form an NDS Consortium that can guide the development of a National Data Service, and we are inviting interested organizations to join. In particular, we envision an initial membership that samples a broad variety of stakeholders, including:
- Pathfinder communities in specific multidisciplinary domains spanning different data types, volumes, and requirements—from large, highly organized projects, to MREFC projects, to various "long tail" community projects;
- Pathfinder campuses who have strong on-going efforts to provide long-term archives for digital asset. Building a strong connection to Internet2 will be key to bringing reaching researchers of large number of universities;
- Pathfinder publishers, important journals will partner with NDS to create links between publications, data, software, and associated digital products, raising the bar for information provided and reproducibility of scientific results;
- Pathfinder industrial partners, including the private sector programs connected with university campuses;
- International partners, including the Research Data Alliance (RDA) and data infrastructure projects like EUDAT; these partners can help us ensure interoperability of data services across global communities;
- National cyberstructures such as national and regional computing centers to help build deep and often missing links between the data and computing communities, and to enable new compute-intensive data services, accessible through high-speed network links.
We see this Consortium as a forum for coordinating the various community efforts and federally funded programs (such as NSF's DataNet and DIBBs) to connect a web of archives, repositories, services, and computing platforms that can work together.
For more about the vision for the NDS and the Consortium, read our white paper, The National Data Service: a vision for accelerating discovery through data sharing.